“Cyprus is as important as Germany, France, the Netherlands or any other member state. All animals are equal on my farm,” said Tusk in reference to George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
Merkel’s deal is now unwinding. France, Spain, Cyprus and other countries have all spoken out against Merkel.
Tusk now seeks to “rebalance” Merkel’s ridiculous proposal.
Donald Tusk will send all 28 EU national leaders on Wednesday a new draft of a refugee deal with Turkey that, in his own words, “needs to be rebalanced”.
Speaking on Tuesday in Cyprus — a trip necessitated because Ms Merkel’s deal failed to take into account longstanding Cypriot grievances with Turkey — he bluntly signalled that no one leader stood above the rest.
“Let me be clear in this respect: the EU is a union of 28 member states,” he said, standing next to Nicos Anastasiades, Cypriot president. “Cyprus is as important as Germany, France, the Netherlands or any other member state.”
Privately, diplomats say Mr Tusk has likened the German approach to George Orwell’s Animal Farm, where all animals are equal but some are more equal than others.
“All animals are equal on my farm,” Mr Tusk has reassured them, one recalled.
Mr Tusk’s task is complicated by the fact he has never shared Ms Merkel’s belief that Turkey is the linchpin of the migration crisis. He has instead advocated “closing” the refugee route through the western Balkans, a policy since implemented by Austria. This has stopped flows northwards but at the cost of creating a 50,000-strong back-up in Greece.
But in addition to soothing Cypriot anger, Mr Tusk must also untangle a knotty legal mess. The Merkel scheme has raised hackles at the UN for potentially violating international law, which prevents wholesale “pushbacks” of asylum seekers without hearing their cases individually.
Can Merkel’s Deal be Saved?
It remains to be seen if Tusk can salvage Merkel’s deal. Not only does Tusk have to convince 28 nations, he also has to convince Turkey.
Here’s an arguably better question: “Should Tusk even bother?”
Merkel promised Turkey many things she could not herself deliver: More money, visa-free access for close to 80 million Turkish citizens (96% Muslim), a repeat of her inane spread the refugees around proposal, and various things regarding the relationship between Turkey and Cyprus.
Meanwhile, Turkey insists visa-free access is a given part of the deal.
Donald Tusk provided a third wakeup call today.
Scrap the Deal, Start Over
It would be best to scrap the deal entirely and start over. Merkel should not even be in the negotiation process because she has clearly lost her mind.
This is the message Tusk needs to send: “Hello Merkel, you cannot ‘stay the course’ because you are no longer the one calling the shots.”
Mike “Mish” Shedlock